Drinking Science

The production of alcohol probably began by accident, but today it is a highly scientific and increasingly well-understood process, whether that’s fermenting beer and wine or distilling spirits. In this section we discuss questions around topics such as the accelerated aging of spirits, when and why certain products spoil, and even whether absinthe can make you go crazy. A lot of our coverage here is experimental, with deep dives into everything from glassware to various types of beverage cooling systems.

Top Drinking Science Posts:

Experiment: Ice vs. Whiskey Stones vs. Tilt Chilling Sphere
Does Absinthe Make You Hallucinate?
What’s the Difference Between a Pot Still and a Column Still?
All About Dusties: 1970s vs. 2018 Bourbon Tasted Side by Side
Does Glass Shape Affect the Way a Whiskey Tastes?
How to Build a Better Bourbon: The Science Behind Buffalo Trace and the Lessons of the Single Oak Project
Cork vs. Screwcap: Here Comes the Science
Why Are Some Spirits Rested in Stainless Steel?

Roundup: AlcoHAWK Personal Breathalyzers

By Christopher Null | August 25, 2010 |

How drunk are you? No, really? How do you know? If you’re a regular imbiber, it’s a good idea to test yourself once in awhile to make sure you’re OK to drive. 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) is the maximum legal level in most states, but knowing if you’re over that threshold can be…

Read More

More on Duty Free Shopping

By Christopher Null | June 6, 2010 |

My post “Is Duty Free Ever a Good Deal?” generated a bit of discussion, and quite by coincidence, I just found that this quarter’s Malt Advocate magazine has a lengthy look at duty free (aka “travel retail”) shopping, too. The story can be found here on page 52 (registration required if you view too many…

Read More

Is Duty Free Ever a Good Deal?

By Christopher Null | May 27, 2010 |

International travelers, you know the drill: You can bring in up to one liter of booze without paying the duty on it. And if they have a special name for it (“the duty!”), that must be a lot of cash, right? Hence the existence of duty free shops in every international airport on earth. But…

Read More

Q&A: Does Zinfandel Make You More Drunk?

By Christopher Null | April 5, 2010 |

Reader Sara writes: I hear drinking zin will get me drunk faster. True or false? In the wine world, zinfandel has a bad reputation for making grown men and women into slobbering fools. Frankly I think the zin people enjoy this rep, but if you really look at the science of the issue, there’s not…

Read More

Science: Oxygenated Booze = No Hangover

By Christopher Null | March 3, 2010 |

Some people swear by the “don’t mix alcohols” or “only clear alcohols” technique in their quest to avoid a hangover. Now scientists say they have a new method for limiting the negative effects of alcohol consumption: Imbuing alcohol with oxygen bubbles. To wit: The drinks with the added oxygen content sobered people up 20-30 minutes…

Read More

Do You Need a White Wine Aerator?

By Christopher Null | December 23, 2009 |

I’m a fan of Vinturi’s Wine Aerator, a now much-copied gadget that instantly aerates your wine as you pour it through the device and into your glass. Handy, convenient, and quite the conversation piece. Seeking to expand its empire, Vinturi has released a version designed for white wine. the Vinturi White Wine Aerator, “exclusively designed…

Read More

How It’s Made: Johnnie Walker Black Label

By Christopher Null | September 28, 2009 |

Ever wonder how blended Scotch whisky is made? Well tomorrow I get the opportunity to find out firsthand by blending my own. Johnnie Walker sent this awesome kit (see right, click for large version) full of single malt and grain whiskeys, and during an hour-long session we’ll be blending our own Black Label under the…

Read More

Is It OK To Keep Champagne in the Refrigerator?

By Christopher Null | August 4, 2009 |

Recently a reader left a comment regarding something I said in my review of Nicolas Feuillatte’s Palmes d’Or Champagne that gave me pause. I said I’d left the bottle in the fridge for some months, and the commenter claimed that the “vibrations of a commercial fridge” would essentially kill the bottle. That was news to…

Read More

Is It Worse to Drive Drunk or on the Cell Phone?

By Christopher Null | July 21, 2009 |

Here’s a wholly unscientific look at the question I undertook back in 2005 courtesy of a closed track at a Malibu Grand Prix, a friend with an oversized liver, and half a bottle of Absolut. The answer: Inconclusive.

Read More

What Liquor Will Cure My Cold?

By Christopher Null | July 13, 2009 |

Based on what gets the most hits on Google in conjunction with the words “cure cold”: rum.

Read More